After lengthy delay, winter sports reinstated

By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
A little more than two months after their game schedules traditionally start, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced February 4 contact winter sports could begin their seasons this week.
Basketball and hockey were given the green light to compete beginning Monday, February 8, while cheerleading and wrestling can proceed on Friday, February 12.
The ruling requiring these sports to remain “non-contact,” meaning no games or competitions, had been scheduled to last through Sunday, February 21.
Likely not coincidentally, the reversal of course came just two days after “Let Them Play,” a group of parents of student-athletes and other supporters, filed a lawsuit against Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Elizabeth Hertel to further the pressure on the state government to reevaluate their February 21 date.
While the return of winter sports is welcome news, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), working with the MDHHS, released several coronavirus (COVID-19)-related guidelines for coaches and student-athletes to follow.
For both boys’ and girls’ basketball, participants are required to wear a mask during the game, unless they test negative the day of the game. Using a Monday through Sunday calendar, basketball teams may play up to three games in one week.
The same goes for hockey, with one difference. Hockey teams can play two doubleheaders throughout the season, which must occur on a non-school day. In the weeks where a doubleheader is utilized, teams are permitted to play four games in one week.
Competitive cheerleading is the most lenient of any activity, as participants are not required to test or wear face coverings during competition. Cheerleading programs are allowed 12 days of regular season competition.
Lastly, but certainly not least, wrestling, which includes the most contact of any of these activities, will not require their student-athletes to wear a mask. Wrestlers will, however, be required to test the day of competition. Limiting the number of teams at a meet to four, wrestlers can compete two days per week.
Individual schools are responsible for coordinating with the MDHHS, who provides the rapid antigen tests.
This is a lot of information to digest, but hopefully allotting one paragraph to each sport made it easier to follow. A table of key dates for each sport is included below.
Both of Oxford’s hoops programs began their campaigns on Tuesday, February 9 against the Rochester Falcons; Steve Laidlaw’s boys were at home and Rachel Bryer’s girls hit the road.
Key dates
Boys’ basketball
First contest: February 8
Districts: March 23, 25, 27
Regionals: March 30, April 1
Quarterfinals: April 6
Semifinals: April 8 — Finals: April 10

Girls’ basketball
First contest: February 8
Districts: March 22, 24, 26
Regionals: March 29, 31
Quarterfinals: April 5
Semifinals: April 7 — Finals: April 9

Competitive cheerleading
First contest: February 12
Districts: March 15-20
Regionals: March 22-24 — Finals: March 26-27

Hockey
First contest: February 8
Regionals: March 15-20
Quarterfinals: March 23
Semifinals: March 25-26 — Finals: March 27

Wrestling
First contest: February 12
Districts: March 15-20
Regionals: March 22-28
Team Finals: March 30 — Individual Finals: April 2-3

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